Pick Up Lines—The Ultimate Guide

Everything you need to know about pick up lines and how to use them effectively.

Pick up lines. They’re powerful little tools…

And, yes—they can actually work.

Whether you want to elicit a laugh, break the ice over a text or on a dating app, or even make a genuine and memorable connection with someone – there are just a few things to know about pick up lines before you start using them.

We like to think of this as the most comprehensive and definitive guide to pick up lines on the web.

Here are the categories we’ll illuminate and debunk so that you finally know all the secrets there are to know about these little charms:

Before we dive in, we should give a full disclaimer, about our rather unorthodox approach to pick up lines, and the whole objective of this guide… 

Our Mission:

Show you how to master pick up lines…so you don’t need to use them anymore.

We know. It sounds strange for a pick up lines website to say this, but it’s true—our objective is to get you to a place where you don’t need pick up lines. Here’s what we mean:

Don’t get us wrong—we’re going to show you why pick up lines are essential. If you learn how to use them effectively (and we’ll show you)…they’re the gateway to confidence, humor, creating some magic and warming up to a relationship with romantic intent.

But once you’ve mastered how to use them…you’ll be able to break free of using them at all! This is something that we want for you. And it should all become clear by the end.

If you haven’t mastered them yet, then pick up lines are a huge opportunity for you, and one you don’t want to mis out on. So unless you’re a master pick up artist (or one of the Hemsworth brothers)…you need em’.

Let’s get to work!

Why Use Pick Up Lines

Ingredient #1: The Power of Intent

Why would you use a pick up line in the first place?

Most people think of them as being kind of lame—quips that elicit eye-rolls and groans. And often they are.

So then why use them at all?

The answer: the power of intent.

Some people find conveying romantic interest as being difficult or awkward. But failure in doing so could land you in the despised ‘friend-zone’.

Using a pick up line tells someone right away that you’re interested in them…

Pick up lines: point scored.  Staying silent: zero points.

Over years of usage in popular culture, people have been socialized to interpret pick up lines as conveying intent and showing romantic interest.

This is one of the many things we humans do to show potential mates we’re interested.

It happens in nature all the time. For example, the Manakin bird moonwalks to show interest in mating:

For us humans, pick up lines are like the Manakins’ moonwalk. They are a way of communicating that we’d like to be more than friends.

So just by using a pick up line, without needing any further game, you can already ensure that you are conveying your romantic intentions, and skip getting friend-zoned.

Pick up lines are little charms that have built-in powers – they send a message to the opposite sex that you’re into them…and that like the Manakin—you’re confident enough to show it.

Ingredient #2: Humor

One of the most important ingredients in flirting, dating, showing romantic interest…

Humor. Plain and simple.

Seems intuitive. But let’s break it down and find out why:

Research tells us that status and intelligence are among the most desired traits that humans choose when selecting a mate, especially for women selecting a male mate. According to Psychology Today, a sense of humor is a “good indicator of intelligence”.

Although this works for both sexes, it is especially important for guys to note as:

Humor is one of the top three traits that consistently shows up in surveys of women’s mate preferences.

~Psychology Today

Pick up lines are, by design, jokes. So they have a built-in humor element.

They have the ability to deliver humor across the spectrum. From eliciting a grin at the least, to a knee-slapping laugh, all the way to a howling belly laugh, at most.

Knowing how much humor to employ requires knowing the desired outcome of using the pick up lines, which is discussed in the next section.

To re-cap:

Without any kind of magic in the delivery, pick up lines are already useful because they:

  • Show intent
  • Leverage humor

So – should you use a pick up line to convey intent and bring the scientifically proven element of humor to your repertoire? Yes.

Whether or not to use a pick up line is a no-brainer. The next sections are where a little bit more thought and skill come in. Lucky for you, we’ve gone to the trouble of breaking the process down in the most comprehensive way possible.

Which Lines Actually Work

Ok. So now you know why you’d use a pick up line in the first place. But how do you know which lines to use?

The short answer – it really depends on the situation.

Here’s the breakdown:

You have to assess your desired outcome, and then go from there. 

  1. Breaking the Ice:

Categories: Funny, Cute

She’s seated across from you on the subway, reading a book. You made eye contact. There’s something there…

He’s standing in front of you in line at the coffee shop. You love this place. He gives you a smile…

But you don’t know what to say! …Can’t possibly think of anything to say. And you want to. You must. But every time you go to open your mouth…the words just don’t come to you.

Saying nothing is not an option.

Instead of being boring and saying “hey”, or talking about the weather – break the ice with a solid pick up line. As we’ve already discussed, this helps you ease into the interaction with intention and humor.

For breaking the ice in general, find a line that’s friendly, charming and humorous.

Our recommendation is to stay away from the more specific categories such as Tinder or Dirty—these are for specific situations, which we’ll discuss later.

Use lines from the funny or cute categories here. These tend to be more subtle, approachable and friendly.

For example, if you’re a man approaching a woman, try something like this (obviously, if you’re a woman approaching a man, switch the wording):

I don’t normally approach random women and hit on them unless it works. …Did it?

If you’re being genuine, then there’s nothing creepy or weird about this. It’s friendly, conversational and opens the floor to a response. Not to mention, if you can do it with good timing and a sparkle in your eye – you’re probably going to get the response you want.

  1. Dating Apps + Texting

Categories: Tinder

I’d swipe right for me, the next guy up is a disaster.

This is a whole specific brand of pick up line unto itself.

These are lines that are meant to be read, not said out loud. This means that they have to be crafted as such, and you’ll want to find lines that have been specifically designed like this.

Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have made understanding how pick up lines work more important than ever. Since there’s no in-person element—everything depends on the message you’re typing out.

This leaves a lot of pressure on your fingertips. But it’s also a good thing. Because if you can master the kinds of lines that actually work on dating apps—your calendar is going to fill up with more dates than you know what to do with.

Here are a few golden rules:

Rule #1: Only begin a conversation with a pick up line if you’re the first one to send a message.

For example, if you’re a guy or a girl using Tinder, or you just got someone’s number and you’re the first to send a message—go for it! Use the best pick up line you can get your hands on.

However, if you’re a guy on Bumble, never respond to a genuine introduction from a girl by using a pick up line—this can seem impersonal or deviate from the natural course of the introduction.

You have to pay attention to her cues.

Don’t sideline the conversation by imposing a pick up lines where it doesn’t belong. Use it to break the ice, or lighten the mood. Don’t shoehorn it into a conversation if it doesn’t feel right.

Rule #2: Don’t be too risky to early.

Beware of using lines that are too suggestive with someone you don’t know yet—it could get you automatically blocked. Similar to breaking the ice (above), start with something friendly and humorous.

The nice thing about dating apps, is that romantic intention is already set. So you have one less thing to worry about. Trust us—if you match with someone on a dating app—you’re not getting friend zoned.

Take your time with it. Use lines for humor or breaking the ice after it’s been a while since either one of you has sent a message.

A friendly pick up line is a great way to break the ice. As the conversation unfolds, you’ll get an idea as to whether or not you should start using more risky lines, such as ones from the dirty category—which is some cases may be a good bet. But you have to feel it out before you dive in.

Rule #3: Read your match’s bio.

Take a second to learn a little bit about the person you’re messaging.

Don’t ignore important cues in your matches’ bios and pictures!

It’s mind-blowing how many people miss opportunities by simply not doing their research. Get to know the person you’re messaging so you can tailor your messages accordingly.

For example, if it looks like your match has a sense of humor – use a pick up line right away! On the other hand, if they’re more on the serious side – maybe consider not using one at first. Not everyone is going to respond well to a typed-out pick up line in all cases – especially since it’s hard to distinguish tone over messaging.

BONUS POINTS if you can:

  • Relate the pick up line to something from her bio or one of her pictures
  • Tie it in to something your match has said in the previous message or earlier in the thread.
  • Find a way to personalize a pick up line the more you learn about your match. For example, if you find out your match works in the medical field, use a pick up line related to her profession:

 You’re a nurse huh? …Do you have an inhaler? You took my breath away as soon as I saw you.

In contemporary dating culture, these are hands down the most important lines to get right. So find ones that are solid and make a good representation of you and your sense of humor. Remember, first and foremost—you’re trying to break the ice and get a laugh. She already knows you’re interested or you wouldn’t have swiped right!

  1. Fun and Flirting:

The things to remember about pick up lines for general fun and flirting:

Rule #1: Pick up on cues

You’ll know right away if it’s working. Everyone likes laughing. And a LOT of people find pick up lines funny at least, and hilarious at best.

It’s pretty simple—do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

But remember to never overdo it.

Keep a close eye on the person you’re flirting with. Are they laughing, like really laughing? Or is it more of a perfunctory chuckle. You should be able to gauge right away if they’re someone who responds well to pick up lines, or if they’re a stickler and you should proceed with caution.

Rule #2: Don’t ignore context

The same rules in the other categories apply for this one.

Most pick up lines out there are suitable for general flirting. Here are some good ones:

If I had a dime for every time I saw a woman as beautiful as you I’d have 10 cents.

You’re late…I wished for a girl like you years ago.

  1. Actually Asking Someone Out:

*Read Creating the Magic before attempting this.

So you think using a pick up line will work to actually ask someone out…without getting a drink thrown in your face?

You’re not wrong—it can and does work!

But’s it’s advanced level stuff. You have to be doing everything right in the next section (Creating the Magic) for it to work.

Would we recommend it for beginners? No. So don’t put the cart before the horse. Before you even finish reading this section, read Creating the Magic and master that first.

Ok. Now are you ready? Scouts honor…

If you’ve been using pick up lines for breaking the ice and flirting, and are having good results, then perhaps you’re ready. You’ve taken a look at the Creating the Magic section, and worked on your magic making. Now, and only now, are you be ready to ask someone out (on an actual date) with a pick up line, and have any real chance at success.

When you feel you’re ready, here’s the trick: asking a girl out with a pick up is a hybrid approach.

First, you use a pick up line to get a positive reaction.

Then, you really ask her out—no joking around.

For example, conversation is unfolding. You’re feeling the good vibes, all the magic making is happening. You want to ask her out. So to lighten the mood and make it less awkward, you use a pick up line – drawing on all the built-in magic it has to offer. You lock eyes with her, give her a charming smile and casually say:

Ya’ know I actually typed “Girl of my dreams” into my GPS and it led me to you.

It’s funny. You’ll get a chuckle. Now you’ve got her smiling, flirty, your romantic intentions set, mirror neurons firing. Look her in the eyes and just ask her out, in your own natural, beautiful, charming way:

You wanna’ hang out on the weekend? Go for coffee, see a movie?

If everything’s working the way it should be, she’ll say yes.

Creating the Magic (How to Deliver a Pick up Line)

This is everyone’s favorite part of the guide.

We’ve explored why to use pick up lines, when to use them and what lines to use. And now we look at…

How to use them.

This is the part that comes naturally to some, and less so to others. If you’re someone that’s still honing your how to skills, don’t be fooled—this part can be taught.

So listen up.

You’ve made the decision to use a pick up line. You know it’s going to break the ice. You’ve even found the perfect line.

Here are the absolute essentials for delivering a pick up line. If you remember these things, or at least some of them—you’re going to give yourself the best shot possible at creating some magic—which is the most important part of the entire process.

Confident, Not Cocky

We’ve all heard this. And it’s especially important in pick up line territory. Here’s the secret sauce for confidence:

Start by taking an inventory of your strengths. Identify the parts of you that you’re proud of. Maybe you’ve got great hair – and you know it. You’re really, really good at something…what’s that thing?

Bring the things you’re proud of and confident about into your awareness. Incorporate those into your approach. This alone will lend authentic confidence to your approach.

Bonus Points: If you can identify interpersonal strengths, such as eye contact—use them! Maybe you’re just plain old a good flirt…use it!

Incorporate those things that make you feel good about yourself in your approach and you’re delivery. And don’t try to spread on the one’s that don’t come naturally.

In a word, the trick to being confident without being cocky: be genuine.

Don’t try to fake it. The fact that you’re using a pick up line at all shows a hell of a lot of confidence, don’t you think?

There’s no need to puff up your chest and try to be someone you’re not. You’ve got a lot to offer, and a lot of reasons to be confident, so focus on that!

Compliment Her, Not Yourself

 Pick up lines are jokes, and like any joke—they have the potential to go wrong.

There are a lot of pick up lines out there that focus on complimenting the person who tells the line. These are designed to elicit a laugh. But they’re not necessarily good for making a positive connection with someone, which is the whole point of pick up lines.

When you’re really comfortable with someone, using lines that compliment yourself can be funny, and a way to creating flirting and jesting in an interaction. But steer away from these lines in initial interactions. There’s only one way to say it—they can put off a rather douchey vibe.

Smile + Eye Contact

These are the most important ingredients in creating the magic.

If you remember ONE thing in this entire guide, make it this:

Smile. And make eye contact.

These are the lubricants for positive pick up line interactions. They’re also the secret sauce for being good at flirting.

Smiling:

This is probably the most obvious non-verbal form of communication that humans use to convey romantic interest.

It seems intuitive: smiling makes you seem comfortable, relaxed and approachable.

But there’s more to it than that. There’s biological magic in a smile…

When we smile at another person, it lights up the part of their brain that deals with unconscious automatic responses. Mirror neurons simulate the feelings associated with a smile (joy, confidence, romance…you get the picture) in such a way that it coaxes them to smile back.

For example: have you ever noticed that when you genuinely smile at someone, their face almost immediately changes in response? Give it a try. Anywhere in the world. See what happens.

According to Psychology Today

You are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel good chemicals in your brain, activate reward centers, and make you both more attractive.

Smiling works wonders. Experience tells us it works like a charm. Science proves it’s true. Incorporate it in delivering pick up lines—and you’re harnessing thousands of years of biological magic!

Eye Contact:

Eye contact is the most important element of effective body language. It tells someone that you’re confident about what you’re saying, you’re engaged, and that you’re listening when you’re not talking.

Scientific studies tell us that it is more than just a signal…

Eye contact dramatically increases attraction and the chances of love.

Obviously – don’t overdo it. You’re not Hannibal Lecter. You’re trying to flirt.

Here’s a good rule of thumb:

Make eye contact with the objective of seeing what color the other person’s eyes are, and hold it long enough to take a real look at them.

For you shy folks out there, check out this article by the art of charm, for some additional thoughts on eye contact when flirting.

ADVANCED MOVE: Touching**

**This is ONLY going to work if you can master smiling and eye contact, and if everything else in the Creating the Magic section is feeling good. It’s only going to work if it’s welcome and invited. You’ve really got to pay attention to cues and feel this one out.

Here are some examples of touches to stay away from:

How to get friend-zoned:

  • Shoulder push
  • Handshake
  • Fist bump

Now you’re being creepy:

  • Face
  • Lower back
  • Pretty much anywhere else that’s unwelcomed. If you’re not sure—don’t do it.

Don’t ignore context, and always gauge what feels welcomed.

Keep it gentle, unplanned and informal:

A light touch on the arm can be a very powerful bit of body language.

If you can tell that there’s chemistry and reciprocation…go for it!

Don’t Take Yourself too Seriously

According to The Positivity Solution:

The irony is that when you take yourself too seriously, no one else does.

If you get to serious about approaching members of the opposite sex, it can feel overbearing and even creepy.

Remember—when you’re using a pick up line, you’re telling a joke! You’re not casting a spell. Ironically, the real magic in how to use pick up lines, is in forgetting how powerful they actually are.

To accomplish this, don’t focus on the end resultenjoy the process and have fun with it! Don’t get all up in your head about it.

To help with this, remember that you are:

  • Relaxed
  • Easy going
  • Calm
  • Spontaneous
  • Positive

Now take a deep breath. Smile.

…And just talk to her. No big deal.

Use Defeat as an Opportunity

So you did all of these things and you didn’t get the response you wanted.

It happens.

Not the greatest feeling. But believe it or not, it represents probably one of the most important opportunities to show how cool, calm and collected you are about taking defeat in stride. This keeps the door open to future positive feelings towards you, instead of blowing the entire exchange

On occasion you will inevitably get shut down. When you do: maintain your composure, keep the positive attitude, and let the negative feelings breeze past.

Go one step further—make him or her feel comfortable with the fact that you’re OK about the advance not working. This oozes confidence and shows them that you’re secure enough in yourself to accept defeat and move on.

As an added bonus, accepting defeat with composure also sends signals to other people (and potential mates) around you. Maybe it didn’t work out with this person. But maybe they still found you charming enough to mention to one of their friends. So…

Stay positive.

Mastery

You might still be wondering about that bizarre claim at the beginning of this guide. The part where we said that we want to:

Show you how to master pick up lines…so you don’t need to use them anymore.

Here’s what we really mean by it.

We like to think of pick up lines as tools. We use the word magic a lot in this guide. The truth is, pick up lines do have magical little built-in qualities, as we’ve seen. But the lines alone aren’t like magic spells that can be cast on people to make them swoon over and fall in love with us. There’s a lot more to it than that.

The whole point of pick up lines is that, by design—they embody a number of psychological elements critical for successful flirting.

They show romantic intent and leverage humor. And if you learn to deliver a pick up line properly—you’re also learning how to flirt like a pro.

Think of pick up lines as tools that you’ll come back to time and time again. But once you’ve learned how to use them successfully, this means you’ll also be able to convey romantic intent and humor in other ways. It means you’ll be able to create some magic without them. And for bonus points—you’ll have them right there, in your back pocket, when you feel any one of those ingredients is lacking in an interaction. And like the seasoned pro you are, you’ll pull that line out, in the exact moment it’s needed, and you’ll get a giggle, a smile, and the one thing that we’re all trying to accomplish in dating and in life—a real connection. And that, friends, is magic.